Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009


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Shelburne Falling Star

A few weeks ago I saw an announcement on Stitched in Color for a Shelburne Falls contest. I wasn’t going to participate, but then, while shopping for fabric to finish the picnic blanket, a couple of half yards of fabric found their way into my basket.

Buying fabric? Easy.

Figuring out what to make with the fabric? That’s an entirely different puzzle altogether. My mom asked me how I came up with the idea. Honestly? I have no idea. I read quite a few blogs (by which I mean I skim through them while focusing on the ones that most catch my eye) so it’s more than likely that someone made something with stars. From there it’s a Google image search for quilted stars, barn stars, free stars, paper pieced stars. I looked at patterns (free, Etsy, Craftsy), but none of them really seemed like the thing.

Carol Doak’s “50 Fabulous Paper-Pieced Stars” made its way home from the library, mostly for the Colorado star, but when it arrived I fell in love with her Wisconsin star. Heh, I live in Wisconsin, is that too kitschy?

A week ago today we had our local quilt guild’s sew day and seeing as the husband was off, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to work on this quilt. While brushing my teeth it dawned on me – stars…falling stars….Shelburne Falls….Shelburne Falling Star. This, dear reader, is how inspiration is born.

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I could have done the traditional thing. Four stars matched up with a neat little square of HSTs in the middle. Yeah. I never follow a recipe as written and likely couldn’t even if I tried, why would I follow a pattern as written?

One week, two Shelburne Falls fabrics, four Kona solids, a full Saturday, some Diet Coke, just about the entire third season of NCIS, and countless hours later my kitchen is a mess, the children have had pizza for dinner more than once. Oh, and the quilt is finished.

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It’s perfect, yes? I can’t say that it’s exactly how I thought it would turn out because to be honest my vision before beginning was fuzzy. I love the way things evolve. Mistakes become focal points. Pieces are shuffled. While I enjoy the finished project, I think I prefer the process a great deal more than the finishing. Wrestling this quilt through my domestic machine was no picnic not to mention how I feel about hand stitching binding, but there is a certain satisfaction with having arrived even if it’s a little bittersweet.

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Speaking of binding…I will now bind all of my quilts in stripes. I just love the way the stripes look marching all in a row down the edge of the quilt. Perfect.

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I’m off to link up with Stitched in Color. Fingers crossed, dear reader. We’ll know on Monday (I think) whether or not I made it to the next round.


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WIP Wednesday – A Little of This and a Little of That

But mostly this:

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I added in another Dear Stella fabric to finish out the piecing, opting for larger pieces on the inside of the quilt rather than putting borders on it – mostly because borders always give me trouble. The top ended up finishing out at 64 1/2″ square (just shy of my target 65″ square).

Now all I have to do is piece the back, cut the batting to size, and get it basted. I’m pondering whether or not I’ll do the quilting on this one. When they’re larger than a wall hanging or table runner I usually send them out to my quilter (also known as my mom). I did the same with Shattered, which is quite a bit smaller than this one. My only excuse being that I was thinking of straight line quilting which I think will work well with the top and that’s something I like to think I can handle.

I feel like I should mention a disclaimer here because if you read here long enough you’re probably thinking that Shattered been out for a long time, but we’re on a “I’m not in a hurry” understanding. She’s just waiting on my say so and I’m thinking I like the process a great deal more than the finishing. Not so coincidentally, it helps me avoid putting the binding on which is precisely what I will continue to do once it comes back. I hate doing the binding.

Well, mostly I hate hand stitching. It makes my hands cramp up all funny. On the other hand, I don’t like the way binding looks when folks machine stitch it on.

So.

There you go.

Anyway…

Also Finished This Week:

Quick Finishes (or the “finish it already!!” group):

Waiting:

  • Shattered – needs quilting and binding
  • fleece quilt (pictured here) – need to finish sewing nine patch blocks, need to finish sewing together rows and then needs some sort of binding to help keep it square-ish – but mostly waiting on inspiration.

In Progress:

The Great Big Wish/To Do List:

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From “Sewing in No Time” by Emma Hardy:

  • fireplace screen
  • drawstring toy bags
  • fabric covered storage box
  • floor pillows
  • floral pillow with ties

From “Quilt Revival” by Nancy Mahoney:

  • 30′s Shadow Star

From “Oliver+S Little Things to Sew by Liesl Gibson:

  • tutu (x2)
  • reversible bucket hat (x3)

From Oliver+S:

From “Little Stitches” by Aneela Hoey:

  • Empire State Building Needle Case
  • Rain, Rain Go Away Hanging Hoop

From “Liberty Book of Home Sewing” by Liberty of London:

  • Sugar Bag Doorstop
  • Toiletry Bag
  • Bean Bag
  • Keepsake Board
  • Lampshade

WIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedI’m linking up with Lee @ Freshly Pieced!


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WIP Wednesday – Long Time Coming

IMG_1681If the pile of trimmings on my cutting board are any indication, Herbert and I have been making much needed progress on my WIP list. Yes, it has been since January that I wrote a WIP Wednesday post and yes, I did spend most of February doing nothing. Well, not nothing, but certainly very little sewing. I tried to get things going with a rather easy sort of project. It was meant to be a quick finish so that I could get back into sewing after having struggled a bit with more precise piecing for my version of Empty Bobbin’s “Seeing Squares.” In my mind I wanted something like Amanda Blake Soule’s beach blanket from “Handmade Home,” but I didn’t have the yardage necessary for something exactly like it. Time to improvise, yes?

Famous last words.

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I ended up with something like this. If you read the “Design Friday” post on this you’ll remember how I ended up here and where I thought I’d be headed. Simple borders on the top and bottom. Simple. Except it wasn’t. I had wings. The seams were straight on the inside and every single one of my attempts to “fix” it without taking it apart only made things worse. The damn problem kept reoccurring. Tears, dear reader, lots of tears. My brave husband even tried to help me sort it out.

House and Country” broke me. I wanted to ship it out to someone’s house in the country and bury it in the pasture. I put it away for a day at which point I decided that the issue was something my rotary cutter could fix (and it would be faster than the seam ripper). Break me? I’ll break you down instead “simple” quilt.

I cut the fabric up into the largest squares I could get from each portion of the quilt and re-pieced. Only I was still having difficulties with finished block sizes. My cutting? My sewing? Both? After having my far more talented mother double-check my block sizes we determined that it was more than likely the seam allowances. More seam ripping. More sewing and piecing. New sewing machine. A living room floor layout to see what the next step would be. More fabric.

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New iron. The nicely pressed big blocks are hanging up on my design wall now waiting for the new fabric and more piecing so that I can finish the top of this “easy” quilt. Dear reader, never declare a project to be “easy” before beginning. Bad idea.

IMG_1629Sunbonnet Sue still sits patiently on the back of the glider in my studio waiting for the day that I feel like finishing her. On the other hand, at least the binding is most of the way finished. I just need to finish the hand stitching. I predict she’ll be finished in time for Yule this year.

IMG_1684If you remember this slightly cryptic post, then you’ve seen at least a portion of this quilt. I’m using Art Gallery Blenders and Kona solids in my rainbow-tastic version of Empty Bobbin’s “Seeing Squares.” So far. So good, but I still have a long way to go.

IMG_1632This pile of strips is being pieced using Rayna Gillman’s book “Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts.” I’ve been using the leftovers from the Batik Squares quilt I gave to my mom plus another fat quarter I picked up at JoAnns a few weeks ago.

IMG_1690I’m taking the strips, sewing them together, and then cutting and piecing them together in what will one day be my very own Batik Squares quilt. I’m trying to decide if I will stick to the same form as the last Batik Squares I made, or if I will follow Gillman’s directions in the book more closely.

Quick Finishes (or the “finish it already!!” group):

Waiting:

  • Shattered – needs quilting and binding
  • fleece quilt (pictured here) – need to finish sewing nine patch blocks, need to finish sewing together rows and then needs some sort of binding to help keep it square-ish – but mostly waiting on inspiration.
  • The beach blanket from “Handmade Home” by Amanda Blake Soule – waiting on fabric to finish the top

In Progress:

The Great Big Wish/To Do List:

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From “Sewing in No Time” by Emma Hardy:

  • fireplace screen
  • drawstring toy bags
  • fabric covered storage box
  • floor pillows
  • floral pillow with ties

From “Quilt Revival” by Nancy Mahoney:

  • 30′s Shadow Star

From “Oliver+S Little Things to Sew by Liesl Gibson:

  • tutu (x2)
  • reversible bucket hat (x3)

From Oliver+S:

From “Little Stitches” by Aneela Hoey:

  • Empire State Building Needle Case
  • Rain, Rain Go Away Hanging Hoop

From “Liberty Book of Home Sewing” by Liberty of London:

  • Sugar Bag Doorstop
  • Toiletry Bag
  • Bean Bag
  • Keepsake Board
  • Lampshade

WIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedI haven’t done this in a loooong time, but today I’m linking up with Lee @ Freshly Pieced!


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Design Friday – “House and Country”

I spent an excessive amount of time yesterday shopping for fabric on the computer to finish two projects I just started (and would really like to finish). The first of the two is a picnic blanket inspired by one I saw in “Handmade Home” by Amanda Blake Soule. I say inspired because you know I can’t follow a pattern or recipe as written. Where’s the fun in that?

I loved the idea of the picnic blanket more than I loved the specific pattern. Mostly, though, I wanted to use what I had on hand which did not match the yardage Soulemama called for. I had three fat quarters of Lucy’s Crab Shack, two half-yards of Dear Stella Town & Country, plus an assortment of Kona Cotton charm squares from the new colors (CHS-134-42) and a couple of 5″ squares of Michael Miller’s Eiffel Tower.

To which you are now feeling a little confused and befuzzled, yes? I’ll admit it’s a bit of a mishmash, but I’ve never been one to let that stop me from continuing on anyway trusting that it will at some point come together. At best I end up with something uniquely my own. At worst, I hack at it with my rotary cutter and end up with something entirely different. My quilting motto? There are very few mistakes you can’t fix by cutting something apart. You just need a little…imagination.

It’s still a work in progress, but I’m happy to report that very little extra cutting was required. The fact that my quilt top needs some squaring up before attaching the borders (under an inch compared to the middle) is only a tiny speed bump on my way to completion. Well, that and waiting for the rest of the fabric to arrive. Details, shmetails.

Until then, and seeing as I’m entirely enamored with the fabric collages that online retailers put together in order to highlight a collection, I decided to create my own nifty graphic for no other reason than because I can. Why should they have all the fun?

I’m calling it “House and Country” because every quilt needs a name and I’m weird like that.

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As for the other quilt? That’s the one I spent two hours on the computer shopping for only to end up rather “Meh!” about what I picked out. Five minutes in JoAnn Fabrics and I had six Kona solids that were perfect to finish off the quilt, but that, dear reader, is another tale for another day.

*sigh* These are the perils of shopping online.


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WIP Wednesday – Mostly Linen

Most of the surfaces in my kitchen seem to have a fine layer of flour sitting on them, even though I’ve tried my best to wipe everything down.  It’s probably not a surprise then that I’ve been doing quite a bit of this:

IMG_1351(from Ken Forkish’s “Flour Water Salt Yeast“)

And not so much of this:
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That’s not to say that I haven’t accomplished anything, it’s just been quite a bit slower than usual.  Most of my “to do list” remains in tact, but I did get a few choice (and very exciting) projects finished.

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First up is my very own Pleated Beauty Bag from “Bend the Rules Sewing” by Amy Karol.  I started it last week and finished it up this last weekend.  I realize that I’m probably a less than unbiased judge of the bag, but in my most humble opinion, if it’s not squee-worthy then I don’t know what is.  No, seriously, with all due respect to last week’s composition book cover, this is hands down my most favorite project ever.

EVER.

rsz_img_1306close up of the stitching and pleat

IMG_1309lining and pocket on the inside of the bag

Did I mention it was an economical project to boot?  Here’s the cost breakdown:

2/3 yard of 100% linen from JoAnn Fabrics – $7.10
1 yard quilting cotton from JoAnn Fabrics Saturday after Thanksgiving sale – $2.10
Incidentals from my stash (thread, fusible interfacing, fabric for purse bottom pocket, purse bottom) – $5

Grand total?  $14.20

The only change I made to the pattern was swapping out the flannel used in the lining for a light weight fusible interfacing that I already had on hand. I have no idea which one it was as I suspect I bought the interfacing in 2009-ish.  I was a bit short on the fabric needed to make the pillow for the rigid interfacing in the bottom so I just used some Kona Coal from my stash.  The rigid interfacing was the same one I bought for the crowns I made the kids this past Halloween.  I’m also planning on picking up a magnetic closure to put on the inside because it feels to me like it needs it.

I love the box bottom on this bag and was a bit uneasy about making it since I’ve found the process a bit frustrating in the past.  A quick search online to see if there was another way to do it netted this tutorial from Lazy Girl Designs that fit the bill perfectly (also pinned on my Sewing and Quilting Tutorials board).

If I made another one (which I’m definitely open to), I would either swap out the inside pocket for a zipper one or I would have stitched a few lines in it to make it a bit more useful and a lot less floppy.

IMG_1327My only other finish this week was a linen bread bag of my very own.  This one’s a bit on the small side since I didn’t have very much linen left.  I predict another trip to the fabric store is in order as we’re definitely going to need another much bigger one!

Quick Finishes (or the “finish it already!!” group):

Waiting:

  • Shattered – needs quilting and binding
  • fleece quilt (pictured here) – need to finish sewing nine patch blocks, need to finish sewing together rows and then needs some sort of binding to help keep it square-ish – but mostly waiting on inspiration.

In Progress:

Time Sensitive/Need to Get Started ASAP:

  • red/gold bunting for Imbloc/Chinese New year (need to purchase fabric)

The Great Big Wish/To Do List:

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From “Sewing in No Time” by Emma Hardy:

  • fireplace screen
  • drawstring toy bags
  • fabric covered storage box
  • floor pillows
  • floral pillow with ties

From “Quilt Revival” by Nancy Mahoney:

  • 30′s Shadow Star

From “Oliver+S Little Things to Sew by Liesl Gibson:

  • tutu (x2)
  • reversible bucket hat (x3)
  • travel quilt (?)

From “Handmade Home” by Amanda Blake Soule:

  • beach blanket

From Oliver+S:

From “Little Stitches” by Aneela Hoey:

  • Empire State Building Needle Case
  • Rain, Rain Go Away Hanging Hoop

From “Liberty Book of Home Sewing” by Liberty of London:

  • Sugar Bag Doorstop
  • Toiletry Bag
  • Bean Bag
  • Keepsake Board
  • Lampshade

Seeing Squares (small) from Empty Bobbin

Batik Squares quilt (my own design)


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WIP Wednesday – Plugging Along

The last week or so has been rather busy, but I’ve still managed to continue plugging along on my many projects.  To help keep things straight I’ve decided to tackle this post (and probably future ones) in list form.  Here’s how things stand this week:

Quick Finishes (or the “finish it already!!” group):

Waiting:

  • Shattered – needs quilting and binding
  • fleece quilt (pictured here) – need to finish sewing nine patch blocks, need to finish sewing together rows and then needs some sort of binding to help keep it square-ish – but mostly waiting on inspiration.

In Progress:

IMG_1270Pleated Beauty Bag from “Bend the Rules Sewing” by Amy Karol

This is where the linen went that was supposed to be used to make my own bread bag.  The grey and yellow print is one that I picked up the Saturday after Thanksgiving when it was only $1.99 a yard.  I picked up quite a bit of fabric that day, some of which became skirts for my daughters and some of which is sitting in my stash waiting for me to be inspired.  I’m struggling a bit with the embroidery – mostly because my abilities don’t quite match my desires.  I wanted to try and echo the pattern in the highlight fabric, but my french knots need more practice before that would be a reality.  After muddling around for awhile I finally landed on the scattered stitches on the left which I’m loving to pieces.

IMG_1278embroidery piece for my linen bread bag

Remember the linen bread bag I made my mom?  This was supposed to be the decoration for a matching bag of my very own, but then, of course, purse and here we are – cute little double-decker bus and no linen for the bread bag.

Finished this week:

IMG_1257Indygo Junction Composition Covers pattern x2

I actually complete two of these this week (check out last week’s post to see both sets of fabrics), but I was so focused on getting my mom‘s to her that I didn’t even stop to take a picture.  I am so glad I left the decorative band off the cover for mine.  I didn’t want anything to distract from the fabric.

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My favorite part of the cover?  The cotton twill ribbon made to look like a tape measure, of course!  I got mine from BrownBirdMarket over on Etsy.  Now that it’s finished I’m thinking a new pen is in order.  I’m not letting that hold me up, though, as I’ve already begun to fill the first few pages with my project list and a few of my own ideas.  LOVE it!

Time Sensitive/Need to Get Started ASAP:

  • red/gold bunting for Imbloc/Chinese New year (need to purchase fabric)

The Great Big Wish/To Do List:

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From “Sewing in No Time” by Emma Hardy:

  • fireplace screen
  • drawstring toy bags
  • fabric covered storage box
  • floor pillows
  • floral pillow with ties

From “Quilt Revival” by Nancy Mahoney:

  • 30’s Shadow Star

From “Oliver+S Little Things to Sew by Liesl Gibson:

  • tutu (x2)
  • reversible bucket hat (x3)
  • travel quilt (?)

From “Handmade Home” by Amanda Blake Soule:

  • beach blanket

From Oliver+S:

From “Little Stitches” by Aneela Hoey:

  • Empire State Building Needle Case
  • Rain, Rain Go Away Hanging Hoop

From “Liberty Book of Home Sewing” by Liberty of London:

  • Sugar Bag Doorstop
  • Toiletry Bag
  • Bean Bag
  • Keepsake Board
  • Lampshade

Seeing Squares (small) from Empty Bobbin

Batik Squares quilt (my own design)


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The Secret Revealed

Any guesses as to what yesterday’s secret project was?

No?

How about a hint?

IMG_1189A bag?  You’re getting warmer.  Any other guesses as to what one should do with such a bag?  (Although, I think it’s lovely just the way it is, if I do say so myself.)

How about a peek inside?

IMG_1191It’s a linen bread bag.  Isn’t that just the sweetest thing you ever did see?  I’m not sure which one makes me smile more.  The linen bread bag or the loaf of bread inside of it (even if it was an off bread day).  Of course, I promptly gave it and the bread away because a certain person, ahem, was hinting (slightly) that they were lacking in the bread department.  What better way to share a loaf of bread with a friend than to put it in this reusable and ever so attractive bag?

Sadly, dear reader, I’m not able to share the bread (or the bag) with all of you, but if you’re so inclined, you can make your very own.  I used this tutorial – loosely, though, because when have I ever been able to follow directions as written?

And the linen?  Oh, my.  I would like to make some towels for my kitchen, some napkins for the table, and a bread bag for myself.  I had a yard when I started and had plans to make at least three bread bags, but I got…distracted.  The rest of the linen somehow, mysteriously mind you, found itself cut up for a purse.

*sigh*  We’re going to need more linen.